Gem Theatre

213 E. Hale Avenue,
Osceola, AR 72370

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Additional Info

Architects: Uzzell S. Branson

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The Gem Theatre was one of three theatres and a drive-in in Osceola. The Joy Theatre the Murr Theatre and the Osceola Drive-In were the others.

The Gem Theatre was located on E. Hale Street at N. Pecan Street and was opened in 1929. The Gem Theatre was badly damaged by fire in 1941. It was rebuilt and finally closed in April 1957.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

Boxoffice published an article about Emma Cox, operator of the Gem Theatre at Osceola since 1921, in its issue of January 15, 1938. By 1938, Miss Cox also operated the Gem Theatre at Joiner, Arkansas, and a theater at Leachville.

The September 23, 1939, issue of Boxoffice reported that Emma Cox had opened a second theater at Osceola on September 10. Miss Cox was holding a contest to name the 200-seat house. The October 14 issue of Boxoffice carried a notice of the opening of the Joy Theatre at Osceola by Emma Cox, but upped the seat count to 300. From then until her death in 1950, Miss Cox was often mentioned in Boxoffice as operator of the Gem and Joy theaters at Osceola.

The 500-seat Murr Theatre opened in Osceola on March 25, 1949, according to Boxoffice of April 2. The operator, according another item in the same issue, was named Moses Sliman. Emma Cox was still operating the Joy at that time, and it was sold as part of her estate in late 1950. A.B. Ward was mentioned in Boxoffice as the operator of the Gem and Joy theaters as late as the issue of December 15, 1951. The Murr must have been a third theater in Osceola.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 18, 2010 at 5:34 am

There’s an error in the first line of my comment above. Emma Cox did not become the operator of the Gem in 1921, but in either 1931 or 1933 (the Boxoffice article I cited gives both years, and context gives no clue as to which is most apt to be correct.) The dates regarding the Joy and Murr theaters are accurate.

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